What Wine Pairs With Thanksgiving Dinner

I have a deep adoration for Thanksgiving dinner. The blend of delectable food, pleasant company, and a merry atmosphere make it one of my cherished holidays. And of course, a Thanksgiving dinner would not be …

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I have a deep adoration for Thanksgiving dinner. The blend of delectable food, pleasant company, and a merry atmosphere make it one of my cherished holidays. And of course, a Thanksgiving dinner would not be complete without a superb bottle of wine to enhance the meal. Selecting the perfect wine to complement a Thanksgiving dinner may pose a bit of a challenge due to the variety of flavors and textures on the table. However, fret not, as I am here to lead you through the delightful realm of wine pairings for your Thanksgiving celebration.

Start with a Sparkling Wine

There’s nothing like a glass of bubbly to kick off a holiday celebration. A sparkling wine, such as Champagne or Prosecco, is a fantastic choice to welcome your guests and set the tone for the evening. The effervescence of the wine cleanses the palate and refreshes the taste buds, making it an ideal aperitif.

White Wine for White Meat

For the main course, if you’re serving white meat like turkey or chicken, a white wine is the way to go. Chardonnay is a classic and versatile option that pairs well with poultry. Its rich flavors and buttery texture complement the savory, succulent meat. If you prefer a lighter option, go for a Sauvignon Blanc. Its crisp acidity and herbaceous notes add a refreshing contrast to the mild flavors of the white meat.

Pinot Noir for Red Meat

For those who prefer red meat on Thanksgiving, a Pinot Noir is a perfect choice. This light to medium-bodied red wine pairs beautifully with dishes like roast beef or lamb. Its delicate flavors of red berries and earthy undertones complement the richness of the meat without overpowering it. The silky tannins and balanced acidity make it a crowd-pleasing option.

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Don’t Forget about Rosé

Don’t discount rosé as a Thanksgiving wine option. Its versatility allows it to pair well with a wide range of dishes. Rosé is particularly great for those who enjoy a touch of sweetness in their wines. The fruity and floral notes of a good rosé can enhance the flavors of everything from roasted vegetables to cranberry sauce.

Consider the Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is all about the side dishes, and they deserve some wine pairing attention too. If you’re serving sweet potato casserole, a slightly off-dry Riesling can balance out the sweetness. If you have dishes with rich, creamy sauces, like mashed potatoes or green bean casserole, a buttery Chardonnay can be a delightful match.

And for Dessert…

Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a mouth-watering dessert. When it comes to dessert wines, you have a few options. A late-harvest Riesling or a Moscato d’Asti can complement pies like pumpkin or apple, with their intense fruity flavors and sweetness. If you’re serving a rich, decadent chocolate dessert, a Port or a fortified wine such as Banyuls would be an excellent choice.


Pairing wine with Thanksgiving dinner can be a fun and rewarding experience. By selecting the right wines, you can enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes and create a memorable dining experience for your loved ones. Whether you prefer sparkling, white, red, or rosé, there is a wine out there that will complement your Thanksgiving feast perfectly. Cheers to a fabulous meal and wonderful company!

John has been a hobbyist winemaker for several years, with a few friends who are winery owners. He writes mostly about winemaking topics for newer home vintners.
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